In an interview with rural reporter Charlie McKillop on ABC Far North radio this morning, Mr Cronin said "The funny part about this application is it is solely about erection of buildings on the site, nothing to do with helicopters".
Why then, was the development application a Material Change of Use to include air services? Why did the council condition the number of helicopters on the site, the hours of operation and the flight path if the application had nothing to do with helicopters? The community certainly doesn't think there is anything funny about this application.
Mr Cronin also said the community had their chance to have a say during the comment period. The community spoke with a strong voice when a high number of submissions were lodged against the DA. Community concerns were not only ignored but the councillors were ordered by the then CEO not to talk to their own constituents, the very people who voted them to be their representatives. One councillor claimed he could not discuss the application claiming conflict of interest. A culture of separation emerged between council representatives and the public with flippant behaviour bordering on contempt by some councillors.
We are being told by Mr Cronin that it's too late to object to his proposal since the gate's closed and the horse has bolted. He emphasises he has legal approval. There is a difference between legal and proper. Governments on all levels have failed the Mission Beach community forcing them into a costly court battle, perhaps ill equipped to take on legally enforceable negotiations with a wealthy developer who has made it clear he is not interested in doing anything to address their concerns unless he is forced to.
In defending his position, Mr Cronin added, "Quite frankly if I hadn’t done it someone else would have. There is already helicopter activity right in town, we are taking a responsible approach by placing it between the towns". Based on Mr Cronin's argument we might as well all start importing fentanyl because if we don't, someone else will.
Referring to the compromise reached between C4 and himself during the court appeal mediation, Mr Cronin claimed "We are taking a far more responsible approach to noise mitigation than other people are." In the absence of regulations covering helicopter activity in Queensland, C4 and Mr Cronin agreed to use the noise levels in Victorian regulation as a benchmark in the trials carried out at Mission Beach.
Aircraft noise is gauged against ambient noise of an area. We have not been able to establish exactly what the regulations are for Victoria or where in Victoria the comparison is being made but it would be safe to say the environment would be vastly different than the high biodiversity of the Mission Beach environs.
C4 has entered into a legally binding agreement determining 'acceptable' noise levels with an expert who would be fully aware of how much noise a helicopter makes. The agreement was made without any consultation with residents during the negotiations.
Charlie McKillop concluded the process must have been tortuous for Mr Cronin. Does that mean Mr Cronin is a victim instead of a wealthy businessman who has got his own way, against the public interest? It may be tortuous for Mr Cronin but it continues to be torturous for the community and their unknown future.
Mr Cronin is the sole beneficiary of a proposal that has already caused social division and continues to cause ongoing anxiety and stress within our community. An industrial aerodrome at 2224 Tully Mission Beach Road will have an irreversible impact on our community’s sense of place and wellbeing.
Mission Beach community continues to voice their concerns
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This website is managed by Mission Beach Cassowaries inc to share information about the No Helicopters Here campaign against the approval of A HELICOPTER BASE on 2224 Tully Mission Beach Road.
Court appeal chronology
28th February 2022.
C4 entered into a compromise settlement with Mission Helicopters. The appeal did not proceed to a court hearing.
3rd December 2021
The appeal was reviewed. Judge Morzone ordered (above) the appellant (C4) to provide a list of matters they wish to be considered for inclusion in the proposed conditions attached to any approval of the development application.
3rd September 2021
Order (above) made by his Honour Judge Morzone QC.
Appeal review listed for 3 December 2021
6th August 2021
Court ordered MH to respond to C4 correspondence by August 15th. Appeal review listed for 3rd September.
3rd June 2021
Grounds on which Mission Helicopters, as co respondent , defended the appeal .
5th Mar 2021
C4 filed to appeal the Heliport approval decision